New 2022 Honda Civic Type R takes the lap record at Suzuka Circuit during final testing

New images show the next Civic Type R being tested at the Suzuka circuit in Japan

  • New images show the next Civic Type R being tested at the Suzuka circuit in Japan
  • Will get more power than previous generation
  • Set to be unveiled in 2022

The new Honda Civic Type R hot hatchback is being put through final testing at the Suzuka Circuit in Japan, readying it for its European release this year. 

The Suzuka Circuit is a famous racetrack and hosts the Japanese F1 Grand Prix, among other events.

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The record time was achieved on last month, beating Honda's own record set by the previous Civic Type R Limited Edition model in 2020. A time of 2 minutes 23.120 seconds was recorded for the new model, nearly a second faster than its previous record.

These latest images show the new Civic Type R wearing a light camouflage wrap, giving us the clearest look yet at the model. It will be based on the eleventh-generation Civic hatchback and is slated to arrive in showrooms in 2022.

When it arrives, the new Civic Type R will renew the model’s rivalry with the Ford Focus ST, Renault Megane RS, Volkswagen Golf GTI and Mercedes-AMG A35. It should also remain competitively priced against rivals.

2022 Honda Civic Type R: design

Despite the light camouflage, the fifth iteration of Civic Type R looks destined to get a more subtle design compared with the pumped up styling of the current model. The nose of the car gets the same slim LED headlight design as the regular Civic but features a larger honeycomb front grille design and a protruding front bumper with a vast centre air intake.

In profile, the new car will look very similar to the regular Civic. However, the prototype has flared bodywork to accommodate the Type R’s extra width, and a set of larger alloy wheels. The side sills are also extended to match the wider bodywork.

At the back, a large wing is fitted, along with LED tail lights. Other sporty styling cues include a triple exhaust, an aggressive rear bumper and a new rear diffuser.

Interior and practicality

While we’ve yet to see the interior of the car, it will get the same dashboard and technology as the regular Civic with a nine-inch infotainment screen mounted high on the dash alongside a digital dial cluster. Other sporting touches such as sports seats with red suede inserts and a flat-bottomed steering wheel are likely to feature, along with a contrasting aluminium gearknob and pedals.

The current Civic is one of the class leaders in terms of practicality and the new model is set to improve on that with a longer wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels). This should improve passenger space, and the boot will still be a good size even with the steeply raked rear windscreen.

Engines and performance

Unlike the newly launched Honda Jazz, the high-performance Civic probably won’t get a hybrid powertrain. The regular Civic will almost certainly get electrification, as Honda plans to introduce hybrid or electric models of its entire mainstream range by 2022.

Instead, the current Type R’s 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine may get a rework, liberating extra power and slightly improving fuel economy. The 316bhp Civic Type R is already more powerful than many of its rivals but a figure nearer to 330bhp seems likely for the next model. A six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive are likely to remain too.

Speaking to our sister site Auto Express, Honda’s European senior vice president, Tom Gardener, said: “We have our main pillars that are going to be electrified. Clearly we have a very famous product, such as the [Type R] derivative of the Civic… but no decisions have been made on that yet.

“We’re very much aware of customers’ strong appreciation of the current model, and we’ll have to deeply consider the best progress forward.”

What does it mean for car buyers?

Hot hatch buyers have plenty of choice; the Volkswagen Golf GTI, GTI Clubsport and Golf R are all available, as is the Cupra Leon and Hyundai i30 N

The previous generation Civic Type R was one of the most raucous and focused hot hatches of the time, but managed to be comfortable when you’re not driving quickly. Its popularity is likely to continue into the next generation as Honda brings the best ingredients of the old car and tweaks them for more speed and refinement in this 11th generation.

Read our guides to the best cheap sports cars, the fastest hot hatchbacks on sale and the best drivers’ cars.

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